Negative 10th Player: Adrian Gonzalez
Each year, the Red Sox give out the "10th Player Award" to honor the player who has "most exceeded expectations." The 2012 winner was the "cheerful" Cody Ross, who signed with the Diamondbacks for three years at $26 million on Saturday.
In 2011, we honored John Lackey with the first OBF "Negative 10th Player Award" for the member of the Red Sox who "most failed to meet expectations."
Once again, the competition in 2012 was simply brutal. There were multiple contenders, including Lackey himself, who didn't play but spent his year of recovery from Tommy John surgery by traveling with the club and "double-fisting" in the clubhouse, among other things.
Josh Beckett made a spectacular bid for the 2012 crown, as did Carl Crawford, Daniel Bard, Jon Lester and Dice-K. But expectations for those players were mostly on the low end to begin with, especially with Beckett. Lester made a strong bid as well.
But this year's winner outshined them.
Congratulations, Adrian Gonzalez.
Before Gonzalez left Boston, he hit .300 for the Red Sox with 15 home runs and 86 RBI in 123 games. Solid numbers, but as Bill Belichick would say in this case, stats are for losers.
Gonzalez produced little in the way of memorable moments on the field, but his performance on the Red Sox' off day in New York on July 26 was one for the books.
"Fan Cave" played the guitar:
He did some planking:
He played Wiffle Ball. He managed to do all that after arriving from Texas at 5 a.m. Of course, neither he nor most of his teammates could get up early after another road trip to attend Johnny Pesky’s funeral. (More on that later). Gonzalez then took part in the attempted coup d'etat/regularly scheduled annual off-day-in-the-middle-of-the-season-meeting later that July day in New York by letting his phone be used to send the trigger message.
The players may or may not have called for Valentine's head that day, depending on which report or denial you believe. But the fact that the Red Sox obsessed with their petty issues on an off day in New York when they were entering what was their last meaningful series of the season demonstrated all anyone needed to know what the team was really all about. And Gonzalez was at the epicenter of it by allowing himself to be used as the voice of the crybabies.
You'd expect more from a guy whom was supposed to be your offensive leader for the next six years.
It's no real surprise the "10th Player Award" winner has left town. Thankfully, the "Negative 10th Player Award" winner is long gone, as well.